“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Seasons Greetings

It has been my contention that the West and the US failed to recognize Islam for what it is. We say the obvious, "Islam is a religion." The very sentence contains a phrase with an intellectual trap. The phrase allows for an equivalency with Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Jews, Catholics, and their practices such as church bells, inspirational hymns, and Sunday best clothes on fresh-faced kids going to Sunday school. A religion in twenty first century parlance is something of grace, privacy and spiritual contentment. Religion gives solace for grief, hope for despair, and forgiveness for wrongs and sin.

The haters of all religions placed Islam in the same basket as other religions because they neither see the difference nor do they care for anything outside their secular agenda. There are a lot of religion haters in secular society and religion haters are over represented in the general media.

Islam appeared to them as just another exotic religion and contemporary societal mores of equivalency let Islam slip into western society with little scrutiny. Diversity from sea to shining sea clouded the normal scrutiny that allows human beings to make needed and acceptable discrimination of ideas.

Outrage after outrage has brought Islam front and center for a more skeptical and closer review. The "religion of peace" has, shall we say, some issues. It is time to eliminate the idiotic idea that to judge a concept or idea is “judgmental” and wrong.

Human beings can think the way they do because they can speak and hear the words in their brains. It is necessary to look at the truth in order to see the truth. It is necessary to see the truth to understand it and think about it and then live it. To speak the truth without fear is redemption and grace. Practice it.

There is a site that has some very interesting snippets about the inherent charm of Islam. It puts new meaning to the spirit of the upcoming Ramadan season. Consider:

Mohammed comes on the scene to lead a people made bitter by the natural environment

We are concerned here with the Bedouin Arabs who resided in the Arabian Peninsula. Here our ancestors developed civilization, but only on the coastal fringes, specially in the Southern regions that is today Yemen, and limited settled civilization around the bigger oases of Makkah and Yathrib (later renamed Medina).

Till the 7th century, we did not make any impact on global civilization, till we were united by a charismatic but sadistic and cruel leader - Mohammed (yimach shmo ve-zichro - may his name and memory be obliterated). The story of Mohammed is that of a superlative but warped genius who was born in 570 C.E.. A genius who combined in himself the role of a military strategist, a psychologist, motivator and commander of men.

Mohammed’s Epileptic fits were behind his hallucinations that an angel spoke to him revealing the Quran

With a harsh childhood in which he lost his parents, he grew to manhood earlier in life than most kids of his age. But the hardships that accompanied his growth from childhood to adolescence made him an epileptic. His epileptic fits were to play a pivotal role in his later life an create an hallucination that some god was talking to him

There is an occurrence in Mohammed’s life that is eloquent on this issue of his mental illness. Once Mohammed. and his foster brother were playing when Halima, his nurse was nursing him in the desert. Suddenly, the foster brother came running to Halima and said that Mohammed was sick. When they went out, they found a young Mohammed behind the bushes with his clothes turned up. It's possible that he was sexually assaulted; however, much later a legend was created partially by Mohammed himself that two angels in grey robe came and one split his chest open and took out the heart and removed a dark clot and then when they weighed him the whole universe weighed less than Mohammed!

The possibility that he was sexually assaulted (sodomized) in his childhood seems to have made him a bitter person and could have accentuated his mental illness, but in spite of this he showed uncanny ability to manipulate and get the results he wanted. In most probabilities, his mental illness could have been a wild form of paranoid schizophrenia.

In his later life, during his 'revelations' he groaned like a she-camel having a baby (which by the way is not a pleasant sound). He had directed his followers to cover him up with a black blanket whenever he suffered from the epileptic fits and that's why he carried this black blanket with him all the time. This narration is the kernel of historical truth that has come down through ages of Arab-Muslim folklore that grew around him.

How Mohammed shrewdly grabbed a leadership role, igniting his innate desire to be a leader of men

Mohammed being a member of the Quraish clan which was in charge of the Kaaba, belonged to a privileged clan. But he did not hold a position of distinction within the clan. The turning event of his life was in the year 610 C.E. when during a dispute within his clan about who would be in charge of the annual repairs to the Kaaba. The clan members decided that the person who at that time walks into the Kaaba first would be in charge of the repairs.

And it so happened that Mohammed came to know of this condition, and the evil genius that he was, he realized that this was his opportunity to thrust himself on a higher pedestal. Next morning when the Meccans had gathered to see who walks towards the Kabba first, came our man Mohammed walking nonchalantly towards the holiest object of the Quraish of Mecca.

Little did the Quraish realize that the person walking towards the Kaaba was not the chosen one, but one who held within him a diabolical genius who by this petty but powerful act grabbed unto himself an exalted position of being in charge of repairs to the Kaaba and paved the way himself to elevate his position in the eyes of the Meccans.

This shrewd and diabolical act of the evil genius Mohammed was to start a trail to bloodshed thru Persia, Byzantine, Egypt, North Africa, Spain, France, Balkans… and of which 9/11 was the most dramatic example a trail which has not ended till today, nor will it end till Islam is brought to its full and final end.

Till that point in time, Mohammed was any other Arab, any other Bedouin, any other Quraish tribal. But from then onwards, his stature changed in the eyes of his compatriots. And most importantly, it changed in his own eyes. He began considering that he had to fulfill a mission, an extraordinary mission. His delusion was nurtured by his being an epileptic and he hallucinated that he was in direct communication with god. He began to rationalize his ideas about his personal grandeur by telling people that god had chosen him as his messenger. His claims were met with ridicule.

Mohammed’s epileptic. fits now began play a pivotal role making him hallucinate that he was in communion with some god

But his innate ambition to be a leader of men, had been fuelled by his having managed to be chosen to undertake repairs to the Kaaba. An ambition, which he consciously and deliberately nurtured through his epileptic fits using which he fibbed that god had communicated through the Jibril (the Bedouin word for our angel Gabriel) and commanded him to be the leader of all men by asking for their submission. The concept of submission was so overriding, that the faith he founded was also named Submission or in Arabic Islam.

Islam is not a religion of “Peace”, it is a religion of “Submission” to the Muslims

The canard that Islam means “peace”, is a misconception deliberately created by Muslim-apologists to pull wool over the eyes of innocuous Westerners and other non-Muslims. While actually the word Islam comes from and Arabic term for “losing oneself” “submitting” or “surrendering” to the will (of Mohammed). So please, in spite of what Muslims will tell you, do not be deceived by claims that Islam means peace. Islam means “submission”.

The Arabic word for peace is Salam, derived from the same Hebrew word Shalom which also means peace. But “Islam” and “Salam” are two incongruous words that share no common ground either in name or in substance.


  1. A little paste for you on this topic:

    The Muslim Stereotype

    Published: December 10, 2006


    Whatever happens in Iraq, we may be inching closer to a “clash of civilizations” between Islam and the West.

    There’s a fatigue in the West with an Arab world that sometimes seems to put its creative juices mostly into building better bombs. Even open-minded people in the West sometimes feel a sense of resignation that maybe the bigots are right: maybe Islam just is intrinsically backward, misogynistic and violent.

    After I wrote recently about reform elements in Islam, I received a long note from a 24-year-old Chicagoan, Paul Williams, who ventured what many people feel: “I went to school in Macalester College and the whole time there I wrote paper after paper defending Islam,” he told me. Now, he says, after reading the Koran cover to cover and living in Turkey, he has lapsed into political incorrectness: “The more I’m here the more I’m beginning to think that there’s just something wrong with Islam.”

    That’s a common view, shaped partly by the way we in the news business focus on violence in the Islamic world. So let me step up and say that I find the common American stereotypes of Islam profoundly warped.

    Those stereotypes are largely derived from the less than 20 percent of Muslims who are Arabs, with Persians and Pashtuns thrown in as well. But the great majority of the world’s Muslims live not in the Middle East but here in Asia, where religion has mostly been milder.

    At the moment I’m in Brunei, a Muslim country nestled in Southeast Asia. At the University of Brunei, women outnumber men. Women here drive, fill senior offices in government and the private sector, serve as ambassadors and are pilots for the national airline. “Young women have equal opportunities now — it’s up to your capability,” said Lisa Ibrahim, president of the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Brunei.

    Brunei has gold-domed mosques in its skyline, and the sultan has two wives. But Brunei is also home to churches and Hindu temples serving a multiethnic society. Young people flirt together in the cafes, and non-Muslims are allowed to drink alcohol.

    Anwar Ibrahim, the former Malaysian deputy prime minister, says he reminds Americans that the most populous Muslim country (Indonesia) is a democracy whose elections run more smoothly than Florida’s.

    Yes, Islamists are a threat in Asia, and many imams are more scandalized by female flesh than by honor killings or illiteracy. Indonesia has tried the editor of the local edition of Playboy magazine, and a state in Malaysia has threatened to fine women who wear miniskirts. But Indonesia has had a woman as president, while Bangladesh has had two female prime ministers and has more girls in high school than boys.

    “We tend to be more tolerant,” Yusof Halim, a prominent lawyer in Brunei, said of Asian Muslims. He then confided: “My honest opinion is that Arabs are male chauvinists.”

    Meanwhile, many Muslims are as disenchanted with us as we are with them. They complain about hypocritical Americans who parrot slogans about human rights but brutalize Muslims at Guantánamo and supply the weaponry that kills Muslim children in Gaza and Lebanon.

    The Koran and Bible alike have passages that make 21st-century readers flinch; most Christians just ignore sections on slavery or admonitions to kill a disobedient child. Likewise, some Muslims are reinterpreting Koranic passages on polygamy and amputations, saying they were restricted to particular circumstances that no longer apply.

    Frankly, I don’t see that any religion’s influence is intrinsically peaceful or violent. Christianity inspired both Mother Teresa and pogroms. Hinduism nurtured Gandhi and also the pioneers of suicide bombings.

    These days, ferocious anti-Semitism thrives in some Muslim countries, but in the Dreyfus affair a century ago Muslims sided with a Jew persecuted by anti-Semitic Christians. And the biggest sectarian slaughter in Europe in modern times involved Christians massacring Muslims at Srebrenica.

    The plain fact is that some Muslim societies do have a real problem with violence, with the subjugation of women, with tolerance. But the mosaic of Islam is vast and contains many more hopeful glimpses of the future.

    There is a historic dichotomy between desert Islam — the austere fundamentalism of countries like Saudi Arabia — and riverine or coastal Islam, more outward-looking, flexible and tolerant. Desert Muslims grab the headlines, but my bet is that in the struggle for the soul of Islam, maritime Muslims have the edge.

    The Muslim Stereotype

  2. The Arab Mohammedans are killing & raping the African Muslims in Darfur and increasingly, Chad.

    I am not sure who holds the stereotypical view.
    Cal Thomas wrote an interesting piece about Mr Rumsfeld's exit interview.

    "...To critics, who have called for more troops in Iraq, he says, "(Such people) are often thinking World War II and the (former Defense Secretary Caspar) Weinberger Doctrine, which is valid in a conflict between armies, navies and air forces. The problem with it, in the context of a struggle against extremists, is that the greater your presence, the more it plays into extremist lies that you're there to take their oil, to occupy their nation, stay and not leave; that you're against Islam, as opposed to being against violent extremists."

    His greatest concern is that the public is not sufficiently prepared mentally for another domestic terror attack. He says there are "two centers of gravity. One is in Iraq and the region; the other is here." The "here" to him centers on the way the media report the story and focus mainly on opposition to administration policies and not on the objectives of the enemy, who he describes this way: "They're deadly. They're not going to surrender. They're going to have to be captured or killed. They're going to have to be dissuaded (and) people are going to have to be dissuaded from supporting them, from financing them and assisting in their recruitment, providing havens for them."

    "We're in an environment where we have to fight and win a war where the enemy is in countries we are not at war with," he says. "That is a very complicated thing to do. It doesn't happen fast. It means you have to invest the time, effort and ability. ..."

  3. Soldiers Dad also had an interesting bit on Sunni/Shia:

    Shiites are hierarchical in their religious organization. Yes Moqtada AlSadr colors outside of the lines, but Shiites are similar to Catholics in organization. A fatwa issued by Grand Ayatollah Sistani can be a good thing, or it can be a bad thing. The Catholic Church is pretty much singularly responsible for the Crusades which is generally regarded as a bad thing. The danger of a hierarchical religion is that the power resides in a select few individuals, who may abuse that power. The safety is that their is in fact some sort of electoral process that promotes individuals to positions of power, similar in nature to how the Catholic Church chooses a Pope.

    The fear of hierarchical religion doesn't just exist in the Middle East. When John Kennedy ran for president, many people were concerned that as a Catholic he would take orders from the Pope, therefore subjugating the US to the Catholic Church.

    Sunnis are Islams protestants. Just as there are more flavors of Protestants than Baskin Robbins Ice Cream, there are more flavors of Sunnis than Baskin Robbins Ice Cream. Some sects of Sunni Islam promote "A personal relationship with God", just as some sects of Protestant Christians promote a personal relationship with God. The danger of the Sunni religion is that a single mentally unstable individual can carry out "Gods Will" as that single individual defines it. The safety is that there is no hierarchy to turn it into a large scale conflict. The best example is AlQueada, while they are quite capable of wanton desctruction, they can not field an Army of hundreds of thousands.

    The Iran-Iraq war is illustrative. Ayatollah Khomeini ordered all able bodied men to the front(men defined as anyone older than 14) and they went. Ayatollah Khomeini then ordered woman to make more "Future Soldiers" and they did. Saddam had to hold a gun to the back of his Generals heads, who in turn pointed their guns at the Officers, who in turn pointed their guns at the Privates, in order to get anyone to point their guns at the Iranians.

    There are currently multiple conflicts occurring in Iraq."

  4. Dog bites Man, again.

  5. It's how the troops are tasked and dispersed, rufus. Much more than the number of troopers deployed.

    If the "Generals" really wanted more troops and were denied, would not the honorable General, his pension secure, resign. Drawing attention to breakdown in Trust between the troops, the Government and the US public.

    No General has resigned in protest.
    Because there is no protest.

  6. Dave h said, "I bet this drum over at the BC but nobody paid any attention. Whit and Duece have it right, Islam needs to be de-certified as a religion and called by some other name, like Fascist Police State"

    I am sworn to uphold the Constitution. It says Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion.

  7. 2164th wrote, "The haters of all religions placed Islam in the same basket as other religions because they neither see the difference nor do they care for anything outside their secular agenda."

    The bible defines religion thus:

    James 1[27] Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world

    One of the pillars of Islam is almsgiving, and no one debates the Islamic disdain for worldly pop culture. So St. James would define Islam as a pure religion.

  8. Thanksgiving, rufus--it's all those throw-outs, the li'l possums been on a hi-protein diet & they's feelin good

  9. 58 yr old male looking for female to discuss the Kaaba

  10. Dear "looking", here is a beaut off my part-time russian maol-order bride biz (for details, send $2.50):

  11. I'll send Lois Lane over to give you a hand

  12. me and Dan Quayle say it's "potatoe".

  13. bobalharb said, "I think we should not put a whole lot of hope in those moderate Muslims. Things can change rapidly given the right circumstances."

    We're looking for the Muslim equivelent of the passengers of Flight 93 to stand up and take their Islam back from the nutballs.

  14. Over 100 broken bones, and still hangin in there

  15. Well, there has been a delay in Deciding where the US is going to go, what course to chart...

    Bush to announce Iraq plan in January By TERENCE HUNT, AP White House Correspondent
    1 hour, 35 minutes ago

    WASHINGTON - President Bush on Tuesday put off until early next month announcing a new approach to the Iraq war, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Bush should take whatever time necessary to decide his next steps.

    They need more time to have a Palace Coup, or a no confidence vote with an assured outcome.

  16. Bet Mr Sistani will not budge and Mr al-Hakim may not have quite the "lock" on his Parliment members as he may have thought he had.

    Even so, there is not a great talent pool of "acceptable" Prime Minister candidates. Was not a year ago or two.

    We've been on this trail for a while. There is no magic bullet "new" Prime Minister that will make a difference, unless the tactics change.

  17. The picture at the top lacks something - a rug. If it were flying that would be even better.

  18. Nonetheless, a long and bellicose history revolves around this seemingly peaceful proverb — one that those addressed are often quite unaware of. In fact, bin Laden is not the originator of this statement; it was first uttered by the prophet of Islam Muhammad, and had nothing to do with “payback” or a desire to live and let live.

    After Muhammad had converted most of Arabia to Islam by the power of the sword, he set his sight on his neighbors including the Byzantine Christians to the north and west (known in the Arabic sources simply as “the Romans”).

    It is in this context of war and rumors of wars that bin Laden’s oft-quoted proverb — “Peace to whoever follows guidance” — was first made. Addressing the Christian emperor, Heraclius, Muhammad sent the following terse message in the year 628:

    In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful. From Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, to Heraclius, the Roman emperor. Peace to whoever follows guidance. To the point: Embrace Islam and you shall have peace [al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Rusul wa’l-Muluk 8:104-105].

    In Arabic, “Embrace Islam and you shall have peace” is simply a two-word pun: Aslam taslam, which most literally means “Submit, have peace.” In fact, perpetual warfare — that is, jihad — has been the true legacy of Muhammad’s ominous missive to the Christian emperor. After Heraclius refused to submit to Islam, an infinite barrage of jihad campaigns erupted, for centuries, until Constantinople, the seat of Christendom, was finally conquered by and incorporated into the Abode of Islam in 1453.

    Twisted Proverb

  19. I share the same scepticism regarding the pool of potential prime ministers. None of them has the credibility - if he/she is Shiite, accusations of pandering to the majority will fly; if Sunni, he/she risks being sidelined by the legislature. If Kurdish, I'm not sure they would tolerate another Kurd since Talabani is already President (unless they want to change that as well, but the presidential position alone would warrant new problems in terms of candidacy).